Friday, February 11, 2005

The Royals…

Slate magazine’s Inigo Thomas writes of Prince Charles in an article subtitled ”Why Britons are passionately two-minded about his upcoming marriage.”

"I am pleased," said Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, in reply to a reporter's question about the news that Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, is engaged and will marry Camilla Parker-Bowles in a civil ceremony at Windsor Castle at the beginning of April. "I am very, very pleased," said Nicholas Soames, a Conservative party member of Parliament and a Churchill grandson. "I am delighted," said Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"We're absolutely delighted," said Charles, of himself and his wife-to-be. Thomas reports that the sons of Charles say they are "very happy" with the news (the children of Camilla have yet to speak publicly). Queen Elizabeth and her consort-husband, Prince Philip, are as well.

The largest group of respondents to a BBC poll on the issue, around 40 percent, tended toward "who cares?" according to Thomas, while another two percent expressed "indifference" to the marriage. She adds that the “oddly precise distinction between the groups—the non-caring and the indifferent—itself points to a curious characteristic of British public life.”

“Britons are of divided opinion about Britain, its gorgeous climate, ever-harmonious social classes, and especially about its monarchy. Some like the institution, some hate it, and many leaven their loathing with some liking and vice versa. Two-mindedness, in Britain, can take the form of passion. Now that there's the figment of another royal wedding on the horizon—this one more à la mode than its predecessors, a marriage between two divorcees, five children between them, the soon-to-be husband godfather to one of his about-to-be stepchildren—Britons can't help but be entirely and internally divided about its virtue and significance.”

Pardon my perspective Brits, but I approach a lot of stories by wondering what it means to the good old USA. First, do we care about the British monarchy? The U.S. tabloids sure think we do, but they also think stories of Elvis sightings sell newspapers. Why do we care more than the British seem to? What is our domestic version of royalty? Celebs? Politicians?

I am full of questions, looking to you for some answers.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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7:51 AM  

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